Good & Evil
Am I right in believing that immorality, that is sex outside the context of love, is wrong, not because it contravenes some priestly law which makes it a ‘sin’ but because it is the spawning ground of AIDS and many other sex related diseases?
First define love. There are women who claim to have been in love with one night stands and most people would include this in immorality. However, let us assume that in all probability what is meant in the question is true love, which calls for the maximum commitment and responsibility. Sex outside this is wrong for several valid reasons, but let us deal only with the question. It is true that nearly all sex transmissible diseases have been generated through the abuse or prostitution of sex, but this does not mean that some such diseases are necessarily the outcome of casual sex. On the contrary, the odds are in favour of not catching any disease, but the possibility is always there and the odds are lessening all the time as the climate of immorality is increasingly fostered. Sex outside the context of love is wrong, not simply because it was in this climate that most sexual diseases were spawned, but because it manifests a state of mind, an attitude, an acceptance, which condones and fosters that climate. Couples free of any sexual disease, who indiscriminately hop into bed are neither generating nor transmitting any sexual disease, but they are promoting and fostering the communal state of mind which condones casual sex contacts which may be transmitters of diseases.
Can you give any everyday non-religious examples of Evil masquerading as Good. Something down to earth that I can relate to?
Two examples come to mind quickly. First, the loving, caring but overdulgent and compliant parent who provides a child with everything it could wish for, never chastising or disciplining, wrongly believe that the child will thus have happiness, freedom and freewill to develop along its own path. Superficially what the parent is doing appears to be good, the intent is certainly good within its limitations. However, almost invariably the end result of this ‘good’ is an unbalanced, irresponsible and self-centered personality. What is ultimately contributed to the world is something more akin to Evil. The other example is certain welfare legislations aimed at ‘freeing up’ marital and domestic restrictions. The concepts of such legislations appear to be good, but once the superficialities are brushed aside some very sinister aspects are revealed. The legislations in fact contribute to marital discontent and are conducive to many domestic difficulties and to the breakdown of family life. Here we have a case of something actually conceived in good intent and with the best of motives by the legislators themselves, but in actual fact the latter are no more than pawns in a greater game than they can comprehend, which is the culmination of a grim struggle which has gone on over the generations. There are religious teachings about the struggle between the Sons of Righteousness and the Sons of Wickedness, between the Children of Light and the Children of Darkness, between God and Satan, Good and Evil, all of which seems to lead up to some grim day when the issue will finally be settled.
In all essentials perhaps the answer is yes, but it has to be remembered that a necessary condition of man’s environment is that it be deceptive. Therefore the individual is unwise to rely on his or her own judgment entirely; that is why we are given appropriate teachings. Everyone is given sufficient strength to choose Good if they will. It is very important
to have goodwill and good intent. ‘If each person does what he or she sincerely believes to be good, not interpreting it according to convenience or convention, and follows my teachings, they will not go astray’. (Book of Gwineva).
They provide a very true picture of the realities of the situation, and to understand this properly one has to realize that both Good and Evil have ‘evolved’ considerably since they were first conceived in their primitive forms. Just as in the natural world there is a struggle for survival, so on a higher level there is a struggle to rise above Evil. Always there are the two antagonists: the positive and the negative, the right and the wrong, the Good and the Evil. To explain the nature of the forces of evil and indicate the subtlety of the struggle, let us use an analogy. During the last World War the allies were on one side and the axis powers on the other. Now, we are not saying that one side was good and the other evil, but for the sake of the analogy let us say that right at the top, with the men in power, one was good and the other evil. Still further, as an analogy, let us say that those on the axis side were serving the cause of Evil. Through the ranks of those in the axis side, as one came down from the top, one found less and less Evil in the individual soldier. In the lowest ranks one found men who were wholly good, honestly believing that the cause they served was good. They were patriotic, selfsacrificing, family loving and neither cruel nor callous. They hated killing and the war itself, but carried on courageously in the belief that they were fighting for the salvation of their country and for principles that were good, however misguided they may have been. Yet the simple fact
is that the most good among these men actually served Evil, as did those who knew differently. Perhaps their motivations and intent were different, but no matter how high these motivations nevertheless they effectively served the cause of Evil. So it is in the struggle between right and wrong, activity and inertia, positiveness and passivity, reaction and apathy, and all the opposites which make up the combatants on either side. We have come a long way from the simple concept of the sinners and the righteous, of the followers of God and those who chose Satan. Of course the picture is no longer mainly black or white, it is mostly grey and there is considerable blending in individuals. No one is wholly good nor wholly evil, and perhaps no one or at least very few are intentionally dedicated to Evil. Most in the ranks of Evil are misguided or harbour misconceptions; perhaps, like the soldiers previously mentioned, they have been conditioned into their errors of thinking and sincerely believe that what they are going is right. Viewing Evil in this perspective we see that there is no easy solution, that the Problem is much more complex than we believed.
It does not differ from concepts held by better informed, more enlightened Christians who have studied the matter in depth. However, it differs considerably from the beliefs of those who equate Evil with a whole range of so-called sins and the breach of priestly prohibitions. This is known as the ‘simplex concept’. Evil is much more subtle. The simple view that Evil results from succumbing to ‘temptation’ is quite inadequate for understanding the subtle nature of Evil as it manifests today. Those who would have no difficulty in recognizing such temptations, or in rejecting them, all too easily fall for the more sinister form of Evil masquerading as Good.
The word ‘saved’ is misleading, being a hangover from the archaic creeds. It assumes that some force outside of the human individual is able to wipe out all the wrongs he or she has committed. ‘It assumes that a man may serve Evil all his life and then, providing he repents on his deathbed, that the slate will be wiped clean. This is not the case’. (Book of Gwineva). Whatever we do will have a related effect, not necessarily in this life but certainly at some time. This is the Law of Consequences, which is immutable.
Is Evil proportionally greater in the world today than it was say five hundred or a thousand years ago?
This is difficult to say because we have statistics or reliable information about conditions in general during those times. Also we can be sure that the constituents of Evil were probably different then and displayed different forms from those prevalent today. Probably, too, it is less obvious today and manifests in a more subtle and sinister manner. Even as humankind has matured in sophistication so has Evil.
Yes, it can be the case. We will again quote from The Book of Gwineva. ‘To give man freewill, which he must have to attain godhood, means he must also be given choice and there can be no freedom of choice unless there are pairs of opposites. This choosing from pairs of opposites constitutes part of man’s schooling. Without passing through examinations of free choice man would be no more than an automaton, a mere robot. Thus, while Evil for Evil’s sake would not be permitted, Evil in the service of Good is part of the scheme of things’.
Yes, as does the condonation of it, because it promotes a mental and emotional climate which is inimical to love and conducive to the spread of devastating diseases which seriously affect the health of society and the unborn.
It is good providing the motivation is good, and it serves the cause of Good if it makes you a better person; but all too often attending church is a matter of habit, or form and convenience, and the church ritual no more than an empty mouthing of prayers and praise. If attending church on Sunday makes you a better person during the rest of the week, then God is well served. If prayers and praise are seen not as supplications, but as means of attunement with The Supreme Spirit, then things are in their right perspective and God will not be indifferent to the sincerity of the effort. Worship must be approached, not with the mind of a mendicant but with a consciousness of the Divine Spark within seeking to attune with its source.
There is a saying, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions”. How is one to know what is good and what is evil? Not only is the dividing line vague, but there often appears to be confusion as to which is which.
This is true and an untold amount of Evil has been done in the name of Good by very sincere people. Likewise, an incalculable amount of Good has been condemned as being evil, this also by sincere though generally ignorant or prejudice people. Evil is often served by those who wrongly interpret Good, and sincerity of belief and honesty of motivation do not preclude Evil from benefiting. Broadly speaking Good is all that advances humanity and promotes spiritual evolution. It is that which promotes truth, mercy, justice, kindness, compassion, beauty, art, and all the qualities which enhance life and mitigate the harshness of human existence without detracting from its purpose. All that conforms to the creative design of God serves Good. All that hinders or seeks to counter the Creator’s plan serves Evil. Good is positive and active and an essential element of the lifeforce. Evil is all that opposes or negates this.
What about a couple living in de facto situation. Is this evil? It used to be called ‘living in sin’.
This depends upon individual circumstances and is largely a matter of degree. Going from one de facto relationship into another is certainly wrong. A correct definition o f a proper de facto situation is that it is a relationship where all the prerogatives and principles of marriage are recognized, in other words it is a marriage ‘in fact’, subject to two things: there is no formalization and no factual commitment. Its status in the struggle between Good and Evil depends entirely upon what the parties make of it. If there is a large degree of commitment and most of the stabilizing elements of a formal marriage, then it should be regarded as what it is, a de facto marriage. This would not significantly detract from the status of marriage; what would denigrate it is the de facto situation which is really a mock or sham marriage, where commitment is minimal and the arrangement one of convenience, or for purely physical satisfaction. Even the modern ‘liberated’ woman is vulnerable emotionally and is too readily exploited by philandering men whom she seems prepared to service until they tire of her. The de facto relationship may be a made to measure niche for the irresponsible and self-centered. Undoubtedly the rise of the de facto state has been a destabilizing influence on society and has possibly done considerable damage to the ideal of love, which requires commitment and responsibility, to fully express itself. It has also adversely affected the concepts of domesticity and family stability. Therefore, on balance it may serve Evil rather than Good, but in these days when marriages are too often entered into irresponsibly it would be unwise to be too judgmental. However, ‘to say someone is living in sin is meaningless. What two people make of life together is what matters and this applies equally whether they are married or not’. (Book of Gwineva).
‘Coming from perfect goodness it must be good at its source and being God’s offspring it shares in His nature. However, when projected into matter that which is perfect at its source must necessarily partake of the attributes of matter. Consequently it becomes subject to change and manipulation which, in turn, opens the way for the manifestation of Evil. As rust is inherent in iron, so is Evil inherent in matter; as wetness is to water, so is Evil to matter’. (Book of Gwineva).